Prophets of the Bible
God sent prophets throughout history to guide and warm His people. As often happens with humans, they turned their backs and didn’t follow the instructions and warnings. God even said via the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet, “Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.” (Jeremiah 7:25-26) Christ’s followers would do well to listen and obey what is spoken by the Lord in the Bible.
Old Testament prophets
New Testament prophets
John the Baptist
John the Revelator
Paul the Apostle
What is the role of a prophet? It’s in the Bible, Deuteronomy 18:18-19, NKJV. “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.”
God speaks to us through the prophets. It’s in the Bible, Hosea 12:10, NKJV. “I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”
God reveals His plans to the prophets. It’s in the Bible, Amos 3:7, NKJV. “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets”
It’s to our benefit to listen to God’s prophets. It’s in the Bible, 2 Chronicles 20:20, NKJV. “…’Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’”
How does God speak to His prophets? It’s in the Bible, Numbers 12:6, NKJV. “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream”
Why did God send prophets? To guide his people in the right way. It’s in the Bible, 2 Chronicles 24:19, NKJV. “Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the LORD; and they testified against them, but they would not listen.”
God uses prophets to lead His people and to protect them. It’s in the Bible, Hosea 12:13, NKJV. “By a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet he was preserved.”
Prophets are not necessarily popular. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 5:11-12, NKJV. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Prophets are not popular, because they speak what is right, not what is popular. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 30:10, NIV. “They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.'”
How can we recognize a true prophet? Their predictions will occur as predicted. It’s in the Bible, Jeremiah 28:9, NKJV. “As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent.”
Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit to the church. It’s in the Bible, Romans 12:6-7, NKJV. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching”
The gift of prophecy is intended to build up the church and unify it. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:11-13, NKJV. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
Prophets stimulate the work of God. It’s in the Bible, Ezra 6:14, NKJV. “So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
We can expect prophets in the last days of earth’s history. It’s in the Bible, Joel 2:28, NKJV. “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.”
God’s last day church will obey God’s commandments and have the testimony of Jesus. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 12:17, NKJV. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”
What is the “testimony of Jesus Christ?” It’s in the Bible, Revelation 19:10, NKJV. “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
If there are true prophets, we can expect false prophets in the last days.It’s in the Bible, Matthew 24:24, NKJV. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
We should test those who claim to be prophets. It’s in the Bible, 1 John 4:1, NKJV. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Beware of prophets who do not keep the laws of God, even if they perform miracles. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 7:22-23, NKJV. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Don’t listen to prophets that speak against the Bible. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 8:20, NKJV. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
We can’t ignore all prophecies out of fear of false prophets – we should test them. It’s in the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, NKJV. “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good”
“One of the seraphim flew to me (Isaiah), having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin is atoned for’” (vv. 6–7).- Isaiah 6:1-7
Isaiah 6:1–7 is undoubtedly one of the most famous passages in the prophet’s book, and we resume our study of the Old Testament prophets today in that text. Having laid out the problem of Judah’s uncleanness in chapters 1–5, Isaiah now provides the solution as he concludes the introduction to his work.
The passage is an account of Isaiah’s call to ministry, wherein the prophet served as a kind of representative for all of God’s people. Isaiah’s encounter with God was an example to the ancient Judahites, for if even one of the holiest men in the nation needed pardon and cleansing (vv. 4–7), how much more did the common people need the same? They needed to return to trusting in the Lord and not false gods or foreign powers, and to acknowledge their transgression. Judah could fulfill its original calling to be the light of the world (42:6) only through such cleansing, much as Isaiah was commissioned to serve God “in the year that King Uzziah died” (6:1)—740 BC.
God revealed Himself to Isaiah in a manner few have experienced. Taken into the Lord’s heavenly temple in a vision, the prophet saw the Creator seated on His throne. Isaiah’s vision of the Lord captures the immensity and glory of Yahweh, for the prophet could describe only the train of His robe, not His face (v. 1). Seraphim—“fiery ones”— surrounded the divine throne, hovering and singing praises to the Lord, proclaiming His glorious holiness. Their threefold repetition of the word holy is significant, for this is how the ancient Hebrews placed emphasis on their words (vv. 2–3).
Again, I ask “Are you called?”
God calls every person who is saved. Not only does God pardon the sinner (cf. Rom. 3:26), but he also teaches him of the need and means of forgiveness. The Lord Jesus said,
“No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day” (Jn. 6:44).
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached that many “afar off” would be saved, God having called them (Acts 2:39).
The question is this. How does God call a person to salvation?
How Does God Call You?
Paul writes to Christians at Thessalonica that God “called you through our gospel” (2 Thes. 2:14). The gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-3) is communicated by “the word of truth” (Eph. 1:13), which God designed to produce faith in sincere hearts (Rom. 10:17; Jn. 20:30,31).
To say that a person is saved without God’s “calling” would be equivalent to saying that a person is saved without the gospel.
It is just as erroneous, however, to contend that God calls people directlyby some means other than the written (or spoken) gospel message (e.g., a “phone call” from heaven, a voice in the night, or the direct illumination by the Holy Spirit).
The “word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” is the New Testament, and faithful servants preach this wonderful message (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 4:2).
God teaches us about his beloved son in this way. And it is in this divinely prescribed manner that God calls men and women to obey his son (1 Cor. 1:21; Heb. 5:9).
The Lord explained in John 6.
“It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, comes unto me” (v. 45).
When the gospel of God (Mk. 1:14; 1 Pet. 4:17), concerning the son of God (Rom. 1:9), who reconciles us to God (Rom. 5:10), is preached by a servant of God (Tit. 1:1; cf. Col. 1:7; 4:12), God is calling.
Consider Paul’s discussion in Romans 10 of how “calling” relates to salvation.
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:13-17).
God calls every person who is saved through the word of Christ exclusively — that is, through the gospel. In fact, God desires the salvation of all people, through their knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9).
Sadly, many reject his calling (Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 13:46; 1 Pet. 4:17).